Hodgson’s pride as 150-game milestone draws close

Wednesday 03 November 2021 Written by: Adam

The 29-year-old fly-half made a lively comeback from injury during the Falcons’ trip to Gloucester just under a fortnight ago, creating one try and kicking a further 10 points in his first outing of the season.

Now standing on 149 appearances, including 14 tries and 525 points, the Newcastle native made no attempt to play down the significance he attaches to the century and a half mark.

“If you’ve got anything about you, to achieve a milestone – however big or small – you’ve got to be proud of it,” said Hodgson.

“More so in my case because I supported the Falcons as a little lad, so to play 150 games for the team I used to come and watch is something really special.

“My family and I would be really proud if that if it ends up happening this weekend, but it would be even better if we could go down to Exeter and get a result.”

Making his maiden appearance as an 18-year-old in a 22-16 home victory, Hodgson recalled: “My first team debut was in the European Challenge Cup at home to Bourgoin back in 2010.

“I came on from the bench, we won the game and I was lucky enough to kick the ball off at the end. I was cock-a-hoop to do that, but unfortunately game number two was away to Montpellier when I started and we had 50-odd points put on us!”

Back in the mix following a summer of recovery, the former RGS Newcastle pupil explained: “I had shoulder surgery not long after the final game of last season.

“I went straight in for it after the Harlequins game in June, just for a repair op which is quite common among rugby players.

“It just takes a bit of time to come back from, and you take for granted a bit how much you actually use your shoulder for running mechanics and general day-to-day movement.

“We expected it to be a three-month recovery but it’s ended up taking a bit longer, and I’m happy now just to be back out there doing what I love, which is playing for my home town club.”

Showing his trademark dynamism and creativity with an impactful 35 minutes from the bench during the recent 29-20 loss at Gloucester, Hodgson offloaded for Ben Stevenson’s try as well as kicking two penalties and two conversions.

“It was nice to make my comeback and to have gone fairly well from a personal perspective, but obviously the main thing is the result,” said the former England Under-19s international.

“There were a few emotions running around and a bit of rustiness to deal with, and although I felt my impact was okay it was just disappointing not to have come away with a win which we felt was there for us.

“In some ways we feel like we’d done enough to get the result, but as everyone saw on the day it was just that discipline and accuracy which let us down in the end.

“That’s obviously something we’ve been looking at and working hard to fix, because we’ll need to be better in both of those areas going away to a team like Exeter.”

Beaten 74-3 on their last visit to Sandy Park, Hodgson said: “Exeter away is one of the toughest fixtures out there – just take that 70-point defeat last time, which unfortunately I was part of.

“Whichever team they field that’ve got outstanding talent and squad depth, they’re a well-drilled side and they live off their principles, almost regardless of which personnel they have playing.

“It’s a big ask, but if we do the things we’ve spoken about and worked on during the week, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t win.

“It’s a strong Exeter side who are physical and love keeping the ball, they relish playing at home, and it’s about trying to squash that early doors and getting on top of them in any way we can.

“We’ll need to play in the manner we’ve trained for and implement the things we’ve highlighted in our preparation, and if we do both of those things then we give ourselves a great chance.”